Development Requires Peace, Ung Huot Says

The newly formed Reastr Niyum party led by party Presi­dent Ung Huot inaugurated its headquarters Monday, with the first prime minister telling loyalists that Cambodia’s development depends on peace.

The party’s platform of development in industrial, agricultural and health sectors, among other areas, is “realistic and attainable,” but only in a peaceful climate, Ung Huot said.

“Development can only come with peace and stability,” the first prime minister said. “We cannot have development in a climate of uncertainty and violence….His Majesty in his singular eloquence has told us that if we continue in the manner we have been, our future and that of our children’s may be in jeopardy.”

Fighting erupted July 5 and 6 in Phnom Penh, and has continued intermittently in the north and west.

The party’s headquarters is on Norodom Boulevard in Phnom Penh’s southern district of Cham­kar Mon, near the Ministry of Agriculture and CPP headquarters. More than 600 people, including diplomats and politicians across the political spectrum, attended the ceremony.

Party Secretary-General Pou Sothirak, who is also the minister of Industry, spoke at the inauguration.

Ung Huot and Pou Sothirak, along with Agriculture Minister Tao Seng Huor and Council of Ministers Secretary-General Nady Than, broke off from Fun­cinpec in February.

They formed Reastr Niyum, or Populism, a reference to King Norodom Sihanouk’s political party before 1970.

Self-exiled Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who was ousted by the fighting, ex­pelled Ung Huot from the party in July in a failed bid to keep the foreign minister from being ap­pointed to replace him as the country’s first prime minister.

Ung Huot has since said he would work for the prince’s re­turn to Phnom Penh. In his speech, he expressed support for a Japanese bid to bring the prince back before elections and to broker a cease-fire between the warring factions—conditions that fo­reign donors say must happen for free and fair elections to be possible.

“I must take the opportunity to express my…wholehearted support to Japan for negotiating a solution to the current crisis in the electoral process,” he said.

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